Did you know that yesterday was National Doughnut Day? Yes, that’s actually a thing now. I don’t know who makes these designations, but it seems like pretty much every food from pancakes to pizza has its own special day. It was National Chocolate Chip Day a couple of weeks ago. Not National Chocolate Chip *Cookie* Day, because the cookies have a different day; this one was just about the chips if you can believe it. I have a sneaking suspicion that a certain chocolate morsel company may have lobbied to get that one added to the calendar. Just sayin’. I can’t keep up with these things and usually don’t find out about them until later in the evening when my Instagram feed is flooded with photos of the day’s food of honor. As far as I can tell, nearly all of these national food holidays are assigned dates arbitrarily, with Pi(e) Day being the notable exception. Fortunately my increasingly unreliable brain has managed to retain the simple fact that Pi = 3.14, so when I see that March 14th is coming up I make plans to bake some sort of pie. But I have no idea why June 2nd is the day on which we celebrate a round, handheld cake-like confection with a hole in the center, so I’m proud of myself for remembering it this year and actually baking donuts. I’m also pretty proud of myself for managing to bring that tangent full circle. There is an actual point to this post, and it’s doughnuts. Or donuts, if you prefer to spell it that way. And I do, so that’s what I’m sticking with from here on out.
Donuts weren’t a big part of my childhood. We never had them in the house so I only ate them occasionally at friends’ houses or school parties, and they were usually the boxed ones from the supermarket or the little donut holes from a certain well-known chain. I prefer un-yeasted cake style donuts for their dunkability and tender texture – the yeasted ones are noticeably chewy and that’s just not what I personally want it a donut. (Side note: spellcheck doesn’t think dunkability is a word, but I like it, so it’s staying.) Anyway, when I make donuts they’re always of the cake variety, and I bake them. Blasphemy to some, I know, but as I’ve mentioned previously I can’t stand the mess that comes with deep frying. Fortunately companies now make donut pans, so that’s what I use. If you don’t have specialty pans you can bake these as mini or regular muffins. I’ve seen some mention online of placing a ball of aluminum foil in the center of each muffin cup so they bake up with a hole in the middle and look more like donuts, but that strikes me as an obscene waste of foil.
Anyway, seeing as we just got through Memorial Day and strawberry season is upon us, I wanted to create a donut recipe that features strawberries and speaks to the unofficial start of summer, and I think I’ve done just that. The flavor combination in these donuts makes me think of lazy beach days with endless blue skies overhead, crystal clear ocean water lapping gently at the shoreline, and an ice cold drink in my hand. Okay I may be projecting here because I’m in dire need of a vacation, but until I can get somewhere beachy these donuts will have to suffice. They’re packed with sweet strawberries and refreshingly tart lime, topped with a double hit of coconut in the glaze and garnish, and the overall effect is downright tropical. In fact, these donuts are pretty much the baked love child of a strawberry daiquiri and a piña colada. But without the rum. Or the pineapple. Okay so maybe that’s not the best comparison, but just go with it.
No really, let’s go bake some donuts before I ramble anymore.
Look at these beauties! If you have access to a pick-your-own farm or a farmers’ market, buy your strawberries there. The fresh-picked berries you get from a local farmer will be so much more fragrant and flavorful than anything you pull off a supermarket display.
This batter is a breeze to pull together. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, whisk them together, and whisk in everything else except for the strawberries. Once the batter is smooth, stir in the strawberries. Boom. Batter’s done. I told you it was a breeze. Now spoon it into a piping bag or a plastic zipper bag with a bottom corner snipped off.
Pipe the batter into the wells of the pans, filling each one about ¾ of the way.
Give the pans a few gentle but firm taps on the counter to release any trapped air pockets, transfer to the oven, and bake until the donuts are just firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. They’ll take 13-15 minutes to get there, so set a timer and wash the dishes while you wait. You can even get a head start on the glaze, but only as far as mixing the dry ingredients. Don’t add the liquids or strawberries until you’re ready to dip, because it hardens as it sits.
These sat in the pan for a few minutes before I turned them out onto the cooling rack.
Turn the oven temperature down to 300°F and spread the dried coconut on a sheet pan. I’m partial to the flakes you see in the photo below, which are sometimes labeled as “coconut chips.” If you prefer the stringy shreds instead, use those.
Toast the coconut in the oven for a few minutes until fragrant and golden. This happens REALLY quickly, particularly if you use the shreds. Keep an eye on it and toss or stir it once so it toasts evenly. Set the pan aside and let it cool while you make the glaze.
This happened in 3 ½ minutes. I told you to keep an eye on it!
The glaze for these donuts is even easier than the batter. We’re going the traditional route with confectioners’ sugar so no, it’s not health food. These are donuts. Live a little. If you’re not crazy about using refined corn products (and I confess I’m not), buy a corn-free powdered sugar like Wholesome Sweeteners. Alternatively you can make your own by grinding organic sugar into a superfine powder along with a touch of tapioca or arrowroot starch to prevent clumping. Whatever you choose, sift the powdered sugar into a shallow bowl that’s wide enough to accommodate the donuts for dunking, sift in the coconut flour and salt, and whisk in 1 tablespoon of the coconut milk and the lime juice until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the lime zest and strawberries. The humidity in your kitchen and moisture level in your strawberries will affect the consistency, so if the glaze is looking super thick, drizzle in the remaining coconut milk; if it seems a bit loose sift in a touch more sugar.
Pretty, isn’t it? I love the little bits of strawberries and flecks of lime zest. Time to glaze the donuts! Dip the top of a donut into the glaze, twirling to coat, and set it back on the cooling rack (glazed size up, obviously).
Hello, gorgeous. Glaze all the donuts like this, garnish with toasted coconut, and let the glaze set up a bit before you dig in.
- For Donuts:
- 48 grams (¼ cup) brown or coconut sugar
- 50 grams (¼ cup) evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp lime zest
- 138 grams (1 cup) gluten free baking flour*
- 14 grams (2 Tbsp) finely ground almond flour or meal
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp fine Kosher or sea salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 53 grams (¼ cup) coconut oil, melted
- 60 ml (¼ cup) coconut milk, room temperature
- 30 ml (2 Tbsp) freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ tsp vanilla paste or extract, or seeds from ½ vanilla bean
- 8 oz strawberries, hulled and very finely chopped
- For Garnish:
- 30 grams (¼ cup) unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds
- For Glaze:
- 192 grams (1 ½ cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 8 grams (1 Tbsp) coconut flour, sifted or finely ground
- Pinch salt
- 15-30 ml (1-2 Tbsp) coconut milk
- 5 ml (1 tsp) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1 oz strawberries, hulled, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 6-well donut pans** and set aside.
- Prepare batter: Combine all dry ingredients - coconut sugar through salt - in a large bowl, and whisk to combine thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl whisk together melted coconut oil, lime juice, and coconut milk.
- Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix until smooth and uniform. Fold in strawberries.
- Spoon batter into a piping bag (or large resealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off), and fill each well of the pans about ¾ of the way with batter. Gently tap pans against counter several times.
- Bake donuts: Bake in center of preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, or until donuts are firm and spring back when pressed lightly, and a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer pan to cooling rack and allow donuts to sit in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto rack.
- Toast coconut: Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Spread coconut on a sheet pan and toast in oven for 2-4 minutes or until golden, stirring once. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare glaze: In a shallow bowl that’s wide enough to accommodate the donuts for dipping, stir together confectioners’ sugar, coconut flour, salt, 1 tablespoon coconut milk, and lime juice until smooth. Stir in lime zest and strawberries. If glaze seems very thick, drizzle in remaining coconut milk by the teaspoon to achieve desired consistency.
- Glaze and garnish donuts: Dip the top of a donut in glaze, twirling to coat. Transfer donut to cooling rack glazed side up, and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Repeat with remaining donuts. Let glaze set slightly before serving.
**If you don’t have donut pans you can bake these as mini or regular-sized muffins. Keep the oven temperature the same, but check for doneness on the minis after 10-12 minutes; the regular muffins will take about 22-25 minutes.